Tool Monitors SAP R/3 on AS/400

Luminate Software Corp. (Redwood City, Calif.) moved into a niche of the IBM midrange market earlier this year with the introduction of its application performance management support for SAP R/3 on the AS/400 platform. Now, with the release of TimePiece, the company adds a component to its software package designed to speed the process of identifying, assigning responsibility for, and resolving network and SAP R/3 application response time problems.

Luminate for SAP R/3 Version 2.0 was written to provide rapid access to critical performance and application service-level management information for companies running SAP R/3 in AS/400 environments. One of the keys to this performance management product is its capability to provide structured information rather than raw data.

Provided on a complimentary basis for all SAP R/3 customers, TimePiece provides a Web-based view to enable IT personnel to isolate response time by hour, by user or by R/3 application server.

The goals of Luminate’s products are to help network administrators understand how their SAP ERP applications are performing and tell them how well they are supporting end users, according to David Burns, VP of marketing for Luminate. What sets Luminate apart from other ERP application performance management tools is its specific focus on SAP and its capacity to "communicate with the end user in terms the user understands," he says.

"We naturally go well with SAP," Burns says. "SAP already provides general information about each transaction that is processed, like a technical audit trail. [Luminate] picks up SAP’s information, analyzes this technical data and puts it in business perspective." As a result, the end user can see, for example, which transactions are being processed, system response time and overall system performance.

Burns points out that Luminate’s architecture had to be different from those of Tivoli Systems Inc. (Austin, Texas) or the OpenView products offered by Hewlett-Packard (Palo Alto, Calif.). Luminate is installed on a separate NT server and uses its own Oracle database, so it "does not get in the way of the AS/400’s resource consumption," he says. By using its own database, Luminate creates reports dynamically and "takes up less storage space because you’re not storing formatted reports."

There are fewer management tools available for the AS/400 than in other environments, Burns says, adding, "The SAP market for AS/400 users is growing." In providing users with SAP service levels and resource management analysis, Luminate’s product offers an alternative to adding hardware devices and bandwidth by pointing out the possibility that the problems may instead lie in "poor planning of resources," he says.

"AS/400 users have limited tools or applications to help them understand SAP R/3 service level delivery," agrees Bruce Fram, president and CEO of Luminate. "Because of the complexity of the SAP environment, it can be a real challenge for IS organizations to effectively and proactively manage R/3 performance in an AS/400 environment."

Pricing for Luminate for SAP R/3 Version 2.0 begins at $50,000, but depends upon the size of the SAP R/3 implementation.